Jen and I tend to watch a lot of reality television. Whether it’s Survivor or Tiny House Nation, we are all in. One of our favorite programs is HGTV’s House Hunters International. We especially like the episodes that take place in western Europe – we fantasize about moving there some day.
I’m especially fond of episodes that take place in southern Spain. The weather is always fabulous (at least it looks that way on television). Jen is more interested in being an ex-pat in the UK. There’s less risk when moving to a location without a language barrier.
Despite the fun we have watching and discussing possibilities, there is one thing that frustrates us — people who move to Europe expecting the same style accommodations they had in suburban Omaha, Houston, or Atlanta when they want to live in the city center of London, Paris, or Madrid. Apparently people think nothing of moving 5000 miles without doing research beforehand. If they did they’d know living spaces are smaller, and clothes washing machines could be in the kitchen.
Most irritating for us is when someone exclaims, “That’s not what we’re used to!”, or, “I didn’t think it would be this expensive here!” like they expected to be moving to a third-world country. Third-world countries aren’t all that cheap — you’d be surprised what housing costs in Namibia.
There’s one other possibility: These programs are heavily produced and edited. Despite what’s shown on television, there probably isn’t a lot of spontaneity. That could be why whenever a house only has one, small closet/armoire, one member of a couple will always claim ownership, smile wickedly, and say, “Where are you going to put your clothes?”
If we ever decide to take the plunge, we’ll pick a place that’s exciting for both of us. We’re doing our research, which includes sitting in front of the TV. We’ll know what we’re getting into, and won’t act like clueless Americans. Uh-huh, that’s what we say now…